I’ve mentioned that my current workout “plan” (in air quotes because it was quite hit or miss in November on how much I followed “the plan”) is from EmPowered Fitness and basically looks like this:
- Day 1: Legs
- Day 2: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Abs + 20 minutes cardio
- Day 3: Back and Biceps + 20 minutes cardio
- Day 4: Legs & Abs
- Day 5: Full body strength + 20 minutes cardio
- (Day 6- not in the official plan, but added by me: Stretch/ Yoga of some kind)
- Day 7 – Rest or walk
When I started this monthly program back in September, my “plan” was to add those cardio sessions on at the end of my strength workout (at the gym)- either 20 minutes on the stairmill, elliptical or maybe (but probably not), running on the treadmill.
Let’s see how that’s been going:
(scrolling back through my workout logs…..)
Since September 1st, I think I can find record of approximately FIVE formal cardio sessions. 😬
Yeesh. That is not a lot. Yes, I have walked a bunch, but I don’t like, speed walk when I walk. I do not sweat. I am not sure my heart rate really goes anywhere, either. Maybe very slightly. I mostly just… walk, at a pretty average pace while listening to a podcast.
So why am I bailing on the cardio??
- I don’t like doing cardio.
- Real cardio feels hard to me…. gets me all out of breath and stuff.
- I often run out of time. I typically am already kind of squeezing gym workouts into my work day/ before/ after, and the strength routines already take ~45 min or so. Sometimes as much as an hour, if I’m being pokey or wasting time (happens a little too often). Plus I have to get into the gym, and leave and get home, obviously. (I live 1 block from my gym though, so at least commute is VERY minimal.)
- I sometimes don’t want to get all sweaty, if I have a meeting coming up or am not going to have time to shower after my workout.
- I don’t really like doing cardio on a machine at the gym, especially. Boring! Blah.
What usually happens is that I go to the gym with the intent of doing, say, Day 2. Chest/shoulders + 20 minutes cardio.
So I get there, do my thing, maybe end up putzing around a little too long resting between weighs sets and then…. OH MY look at the time. I’d better get going!! Shucks, no time to do the cardio on my schedule. 🤣
Happens every time.
From a physique standpoint, I don’t really care that much about the cardio. It’s not going to like, “burn away” the nachos I’m going to eat on Friday. I fully realize that. Three 20-minute cardio sessions are not going to affect how I look.
But I DO care about my heart! And cardio is good for heart health. I feel that three 20 minute moderate/high intensity cardio sessions a week, plus frequent walks is plenty to maintain the health of my old ticker. (Plus, my heart rate does elevate on some strength sessions- especially lower body days.)
I gave this some thought. Clearly what I’ve been doing to fit in cardio isn’t working. But it feels like a non-negotiable to have some cardiovascular exercise in my life. So, best to switch it up.
Starting this week, my new cardio “plan” is to SCRATCH the intent of doing it at the gym. Just not really gonna happen I don’t think. Might as well face the music and be honest with myself.
My preferred type of cardio is something that gets me moving, but doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to die. (So no crazy intense HIIT). I don’t need anything that fancy- I just want to move, sweat a little, and get my heart rate up, while hopefully enjoying it.
SO, I have decided to go back to using Beachbody for my cardio workouts. I paid for the dumb year long membership over the summer (before I decided I wanted to transition back to the gym for strength workouts). Might as well use it!! I find the video format to be motivating for me, too, since I’m not as self-motivated on the cardio front.
I’m currently working through the cardio sessions in the Job One program. ALL the workouts in that program are exactly 20 minutes long. It’s perfect! (I am skipping the strength days, since I do that at the gym.) They are not overly difficult, but enough that I sweat and feel the effects. Mission accomplished.
I have also started doing them immediately when I wake up in the morning, before I do the rest of my morning routine. It’s only 20 minutes!! It fits in easily. (ESPECIALLY because my habit subtraction goal for December is to cut my “lie in bed and scroll on my phone habit”!) So far I am 8/8 on this and it’s going fantastic. I used to easily spend 20 minutes doing that, so now instead I’m knocking out my cardio a couple times a week. Win-win. (p.s. 0% of me misses scrolling Facebook at 5:15 a.m. Seriously! 0%.)
I thought I would hate getting my blood pumping immediately when I wake up, but I’m kind of shocked to find that I really don’t mind it! (I mean, I used to workout in the morning, so this is not brand new information. But I haven’t done this in quite a while.) Again, maybe because it’s only 20 minutes, I enjoy the workouts, and it’s in the comfort of my basement (i.e. no need to look “presentable” for the gym or leave my house). I’ve been keeping the lights off in my office while I work out (except for my Christmas lights!) and it’s been very cozy and pleasant.
*Editing to add: In case you’re wondering, I am still doing the strength portion of my plan, just later on in the day, at the gym during a work break. (Today I have meetings so I will take a late lunch and go lift from 2-3ish.) It’s just the short cardio session happening first thing in the morning. Splitting this up has been more effective so far, I’m finding! Easier to fit in.*
So that’s the latest! We’ll see how it goes. I feel like I’m always trying things and switching things up…. oh well. Guess I’m a work in progress. 🙂
I am grateful for my Christmas nightlights! If you don’t have any, I’d highly suggest picking up one or two to scatter around your house. They are so cute and are just so fun and festive, and not expensive! We have 2 upstairs in the kitchen/ main area, and one in the basement rec room, and 1 in the main bathroom. I don’t really use them for a “nightlight” exactly, but more just to add another cute glowing decoration in the house!